Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Regional Briefs 10-14

By Todd Morehead


Neighborhood rated 13th most dangerous in country may have been misidentified by mistake

Charleston police say a neighborhood rated as the 13th most dangerous in the country isn’t even the most dangerous in the city.

Union Heights in North Charleston was rated by as being more dangerous than neighborhoods in Washington, D.C. and Las Vegas. But Charleston police point out that the Web site’s study focuses on an area that extends beyond Union Heights into Charleston proper and includes two separate ZIP codes.

Proponents of the study say it used boundaries based on U.S. Census figures and other crime reports. But, Charleston police say crime is actually down in Union Heights.

So far, only one homicide and five aggravated assaults have occurred in the area this year.


County councilman avoids charges after allegedly going ballistic

A Florence County councilman will not be charged for allegedly assaulting a woman for posting campaign signs in a Florence resident’s yard.

According to incident reports filed by the Florence County Sheriff’s Department, councilman Morris Anderson parked his green Lexus sedan behind the vehicle of Stephanie Rawlinson while she was posting campaign signs for Republican 12th Circuit Solicitor candidate Rose Mary Parham near the Ebenezer Baptist Church.

According to Rawlinson, Anderson began to shout profanities at her, grabbed her by the arm and demanded that she not remove the existing signs for Parham’s opponent for solicitor, Ed Clements, III. Rawlinson said she then asked the two men with her to put the Clements sign back in the ground and moved the Parham sign 20 feet away from it. Anderson said he witnessed Rawlinson and her cohorts attempt to take down the sign for Clements, a Democrat, and lay it on the ground.

Rawlinson suffered a bruise on her arm according to the report. Anderson denies wrongdoing, according to the Florence Morning News.

“That’s not the kind of person that I am,” Anderson said. “You know I wouldn’t do that. I had no physical contact with that woman. [...] I went back and I told them, ‘That sign better be put back up there just where it was and it better be in good shape, just like you found it.’”

Rawlinson said she won’t press charges against Anderson.


Mother gives birth on I-385 en route to hospital

Life moves in mysterious ways. In the case of a pregnant Gray Court woman, the miracle of life recently squirted out on the bucket seats of a VW Beetle en route to a Greenville hospital.

Kimberly Austin and her mother were on the way to the hospital when her contractions reportedly grew more intense. Before Austin knew it, the baby had crowned.

“I never thought to stop and help her deliver the baby,” Austin’s mother, Phyllis Shell told WYFF TV. “I never thought the baby would be there in that car. I was thinking ‘Get them to the hospital. Get them help.’ “

Austin reportedly unbuckled herself, squatted upright in the car, and the baby slid out. Shell spoke with a 911 dispatcher, who asked if the baby was breathing, but the women couldn’t figure out how to work the interior light in the car, which was on loan to them.

“If they knew what went on in there,” Austin joked of the car, “I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t want it back.”

Austin and Shell reportedly exited the interstate, found a nearby patrol car and asked the officer for assistance. Once they confirmed that the baby was okay they proceeded to the hospital.


Jail being sued for only allowing inmates to read the Bible

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has filed suit against the Berkeley County Detention Center for the jail’s alleged policy of disallowing inmates to read any book or magazine other than the Bible. The ACLU claims the policy is unconstitutional.

According to the suit, the jail’s policy hinders inmates from being fully prepared for life when they are released, citing claims that even the publishers of Prison Legal News have had magazines and self-help books for inmates returned.


Furman football player arrested for shoplifting beer

A Furman football player was arrested for shoplifting a case of beer from an area Wal-Mart, according to the Traveler’s Rest Police Department.

Ryan Lee, an offensive tackle for the team, was busted when he fled the store early Sunday morning. Beer sales stop at midnight in the area. Lee was released later that morning on a personal recognizance bond.

His fate with the team remains unknown at press time.


Skeletal remains of alleged embezzler discovered in woods

Hunters discovered the remains of a Dorchester County woman who disappeared last summer following allegations that she stole more than $134,000 from her former employer.

According to multiple media reports, dental records confirmed the identity of Andrea Stone, 36. The woman’s death is being treated as a homicide.

Stone was recently charged with two counts each of breach of trust and forgery after the Dorchester County Sheriff’s Department found 63 incidents of forgery while she worked for Auto Money Title Loans in Summerville. A corporate manager at Auto Money first contacted authorities about the theft on May 4. Stone was last seen alive on May 10.

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